This weekend is looking like a stunner. It’s filled to the brim with fabulous food festivals, huge live music experiences like RnB Fridays Live, an impressive line-up of musical theatre, fun community events like the New Beginnings Festival, and the brand-new family-friendly Bondi event, Festivilion.
Need to get out of the sweaty city? Head to these stunning natural sites within driving distance from Sydney, or plan an escape for the whole fam with these kid-friendly day trips from Sydney.
RECOMMENDED: Top spots to go fishing in Sydney.
Find the best things to do this weekend
There have been some big acts at R'n'B Fridays Live over the last few years but none of them compares to Janet freakin' Jackson. The bona fide music industry legend is the headliner for this year's iteration of the festival, bringing decades of hits to the stage.
Sydney’s vibrant community will come together this Saturday for the fifth year of the New Beginnings Festival. The spring edition of this big day of culture will showcase the talents of Sydneysiders who came to Australia as refugees, those seeking asylum and others who have recently migrated to this fine city.
The pair's first live show was filmed for a Netflix special that was nominated for four Emmy Awards and won rave reviews. They're bringing the follow-up show to Australia, the provocatively-titled Now You See Them, Soon You Won't (Martin is 73 and Short is 69, after all).
The charming 2003 film School of Rock does seem now like a fairly obvious vehicle for a fully realised musical, but that’s hindsight talking. And while that kid-friendly plot might be a little thin, thankfully it’s still rocking on the stage.
In recent years, K-pop has become almost as popular in the West as it is in Korea. Now, courtesy of SBS's PopAsia, a live K-pop spectacular is coming to Darling Square, so Aussie fans can get down to their favourite hits.
To honour everyone’s favourite sour green condiment, which doubles as an alleged hangover cure and fab bar snack, the Oxford Tavern is throwing a pickle-themed party. They'll be flogging briney treats like pickleback slushies (like the whiskey and pickle juice shot, but iced), specially brewed pickle beers, and a pickle-inspired barbecue menu.
Dogs are one of the ultimate icebreakers, so it stands to reason that the addition of the few four-legged friends could radically improve this fun singles' night. Sydneysiders looking for human companionship with a side of pup cuddles are invited to meet likeminded folk to mingle over drinks, snacks and dog-related stories.
The grounds of the Royal Hotel Leichhardt will transform into an amber playground for beer enthusiasts, hosting ten breweries including local faves like Willie the Boatman and Batch Brewing Co. There’ll be a cocktail masterclass happening insdie, while hermit crab racing, giant lawn games and table tennis comps rage outside.
This huge celebration of live music, art and feasting presents a day and night program so everyone can get into the party, no matter their schedule this Saturday. See martial arts demos, listen to local choirs, join a seaside art class or get moving in a salsa workshop at the Bondi Pavilion amphitheatre.
Cornelia Parker is considered one of England's biggest and most influential art stars from the last few decades and was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. See the exploded garden shed in her breakthrough work from 1991, 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View', at the MCA.
The revamped format of the Westies Markets for 2019 could be a sign that the West knows best when it comes to fresh produce and even fresher style. They’re aiming to create a lazy Sunday atmosphere, where you get to know the community rather than fight over the bargain bin.
The year was 2006, everyone was watching The OC on free to air TV and collectively swooned, then immediately downloaded the cover of ‘Forever Young’ by Sydney-based band Youth Group. But Youth Group was always more than a one-song pony and the band is going back on tour this spring.
The leaf-loving folk from the Jungle Collective have organised another weekend plant sale which is now sprouting out of Precinct 75 in St Peters. Horticulture fans can pick up hundreds of varietals like fiddle leafs, monstera, birds of paradise, peace lilies, rubber trees and more.
You definitely know Lea Salonga's voice. She originated the leading role of Kim in the West End and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon, and is the singing voice of two Disney princesses: Mulan and Jasmine. Her powerhouse voice will soar over the Sydney Symphony Orchestra across three shows at the Opera House.
Expect a very wholesome and relaxed day out at this cute community fair. There will be lots of delicious food options, local produce, interesting retail stalls and fun activities for the kids. Relax under umbrellas listening to funky tunes with a side of live saxophone.
“The Packer dynasty has been at the centre of Sydney life and, in many ways, Australian life for a century,” Belvoir Theatre's artistic director Eamon Flack says. This new play by Tommy Murphy will trace the Packer family’s evolution, focusing on the moments when power has transitioned between different generations.
At the Butler's leafy rooftop terrace, you'll get to enjoy a Latin American-inspired mid-morning feast while you learn to paint and sip unlimited cocktails. The arty part of the affair is being run by illustrator Sally Spratt, who’ll help you create a piece inspired by the glorious view of the city.
Writer and documentary maker Victoria Midwinter Pitt has collected stories from Australian women, including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Labour MP Dr Anne Aly, footballer Erin Phillips and Indigenous leader Professor Marcia Langdon, about their experiences fighting the patriarchy and brought them to the stage.
This summer it's all about Japan at AGNSW with an epic exhibition of more than 200 artworks from artists past and present. Japan Supernatural features work from the country's most influential artist, Katsushika Hokusai, plus pieces from Takashi Murakami, who'll show a massive supernatural installation in the gallery.
Christmas by the beach is a bit of an Aussie ideal, so get this year’s salty festivities going by shopping for Xmas gifts on the sand. The Best Gift Market is bringing sustainable and ethical prizes to Coogee Beach. Find slow fashion and homewares, textiles, secondhand items and Christmas trees.
Long before Josh Thomas was Australia's TV comedy wunderkind with his internationally renowned Please Like Me, he was a stand-up wunderkind. He'll be at the Enmore Theatre touring Whoopsie Daisy on November 3 and at the Concourse in Chatswood on November 15.
A symphony of sensory information comes together each and every time we eat or drink. Sydney Brewery’s latest venture, a collaboration with music producer Hylander, is using a quirk of human physiology to hijack your senses for an event that brings together gourmet food and sonic science.
While you won’t find the most famed greasy-haired potions masters or boy wizard at this creative drinking experience, you will have a lot of fun if you’re keen on the occult. Channel the powers of your coven idol, from Sabrina to Hermione, and brew devilish concoctions in your cauldron.
In Arinzé Kene’s acclaimed coming of age tale, Justin Amankwah plays a teenager trying to stay on the straight and narrow in the lead up to the 2011 London Riots. Spanning multiple characters, communities and years, the production is directed by Rachel Chant.
The Imperial is bringing a touch of old-fashioned class to the weekends with a '50s flavoured drag'n'dine lunch. Every Saturday and Sunday in November you can sit down to a plant-based banquet and retro-inspired drag entertainment, topped off with two hours of bottomless bubbles.
The Choir of Man, which falls somewhere between pub gig, cabaret, choral performance and scrappy musical, is an ode to pub culture and the communities that exist within them. There’s not much going on in terms of narrative, but there are nine men from England and Ireland onstage leading the audience through a night at their local.
The Russian Resurrection Film Festival is one of the largest, oldest and most respected Russian film festivals outside of Russia. For its 16th anniversary, the Sydney season of its national tour will screen new releases and favourites from both stalwarts of Russian cinema and rising stars.
Be put through your paces in a military-style training regime of obstacle courses and endurance tests. Tough it out on the classic 16km course of mud-caked running and 25 obstacles that take you through muddy flats, dense bushland, ice and electricity. Or, try the new 5km course, with less running, more obstacles and still plenty of mud.
Martin Scorsese’s 2010 psychological thriller Shutter Island has nightmare-inducing qualities that will make it an adaptable theme for this immersive cinema experience. Beyond Cinema will take this unsettling story to Q Station, hosting a kind of haunted house experience which follows Shutter Island's plot before a screening of the film.
The ballet Sylvia falls very firmly into the 'neglected classic' category, and has been rarely performed since it premiered more than 150 years ago. It draws its narrative from Greek mythology, following Sylvia, a chaste, ferocious huntress who swears off love but eventually falls for a mortal man.
This is the Hayes Theatre’s first foray into Gilbert and Sullivan, but given the cast attached and director you shouldn’t expect this to be a stuffy Victorian operetta. They’re promising a gender-bending, hyper-theatrical version that will speak to the satire of Victorian society in this seafaring tale.
This newest season of free movies from the archives of world cinema delivers supernatural stories from seven different nations. The Art Gallery of NSW is presenting these films as an adjunct to its blockbusting Japan Supernatural exhibition, and it ranges from a legendary Italian horror film to two neglected Australian classics of the uncanny.
Ben Quilty's work is known across the country for its vivid, luscious and tormented quality, all realised in oils. This exhibition is Quilty's first major survey in more than a decade and covers 15 years of his work, ranging from his portraits through to more abstract pieces and reflections on the Australian landscape.
You’re a newlywed in 1900s Germany, and you’ve gone to a parade to see the king. Then suddenly, like an act of God, your tightly drawstringed, old-timey underpants fall down. You scoop them up quick as a flash and carry on with your day. But in Steve Martin’s remix of 1910 play Die Hose, Louise and her knickers are the talk of the town.
If you’re partial to an evening of smooth jazz or wild scat cat abandon, then this huge jazz festival will be right up your alley. It exclusively stars jazz musicians who identify as female and the last performances are happening in bars and clubs across Sydney this weekend.
Who doesn’t love a good sausage? Camperdown’s home of farm-to-table dining, Acre Eatery, invites you to take your appreciation for the humble snag to the next level with a 90-minute hands-on artisan sausage-making masterclass.
Blak Box is a pavilion for art and sound telling the stories of the Indigenous people who've lived in the area for tens of thousands of years. Audiences can step inside and listen to a 45-minute audio track featuring spoken word, natural sounds and music, played in state-of-the-art surround sound.
In 1973, the Sydney Opera House opened and our city was making headlines around the world. But in the Strand arcade, another cultural revolution was happening: Jenny Kee opened her Flamingo Park Frock Salon. Her creative partnership with Linda Jackson is being celebrated in this major survey.
A new wardrobe doesn’t have to mean popping hundreds of dollars worth of tags, especially when you’re shopping at this long-standing secondhand market in Rozelle. It runs across the weekend, although Saturday is the best day if it’s pre-loved clothing you’re after.
If there’s a corner of a foreign field that is forever England, then it’s Palace Cinemas during the annual British Film Festival. The line-up is usually packed with big star names, well known directors and popular genres ranging from protest to literary adaptation – and 2019 is no exception.
This new production of one of Australia’s most popular plays is directed by Sarah Goodes. Penned by Louis Nowra, it’s about a young director who stages an opera inside a mental health facility in the 1970s, using the patients as his cast.
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran has become pretty well known in recent years around Sydney thanks to his distinctive sculptures and paintings. This new series represents a bit of a change in direction for the artist, bringing all sorts of materials into the fold alongside his ceramics to create his largest works yet.
Griffin Theatre Company's final play for the year is a strange Romeo and Juliet-esque love story between a 14-year-old boy and a fox, and is described by Griffin as: “Fantastic Mr Fox if Margaret Atwood wrote the Netflix adaptation”.
Any Sydneysiders who are crazy for Keanu can now immerse themselves in an epic celebration of this modern-day matinee idol. Reeves’ most beloved blockbusters will be getting an airing, including Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Speed, The Matrix and many more.
On the third Sunday of every month, Sydney Vegan Market brings together more than 100 stalls selling 100 per cent plant-based food and drink, homewares, fashion, art and cosmetics. The set up in Moore Park offers a full day of eating, shopping, activism and education.
Beijing-born Guan Wei is one of the most provocative and distinctive artists making work in Australia today, about both China and his adopted homeland, and the connection between the two nations. The Museum of Contemporary Art is putting some of his most memorable pieces on display in a new exhibition.
It's time to don your ballet shoes and practice your plié – Billy Elliot the Musical is on its way back to Australian shores for a tenth anniversary tour. The British musical blockbuster is opening at the Sydney Lyric with four freakishly talented youngsters sharing the title role.
Each year, the MCA invites an artist or curator to take the reins of Primavera, an exhibition for emerging artists under 35. This year, the exhibition is curated by Archibald Prize-winning painter Mitch Cairns, who has brought together seven artists who all incorporate language forms and poetic expression in their practice.
Among 40 other characters, including a bully of a chef, a snooty maître d', a Sydney socialite and an assistant to an international A-lister, Sam, the harried restaurant worker who, armed with little more than her wits and charisma, must manage the daily battle for Sydney’s top tables.
You’ll find massive variety among the 200 stalls that take over Glebe Public School each Saturday morning. There are rows upon rows of eccentric and colourful vintage clothes, alongside hand-crafted jewellery, accessories and new clothing designed by locals.
Judith Neilson's four-storey temple of contemporary Chinese art in Chippendale celebrates some of its finest moments at the end of its first decade. The exhibition will bring together works from White Rabbit's earliest exhibitions alongside works from the collection that haven't been exhibited before.
More amazing things to do in Sydney
Find all the best art exhibitions in Sydney over the next few weeks.
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Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Sydney's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.
We’ve tried and tested Sydney’s best tours – from seaside foraging trails to urban graffiti walks – to bring you a list of tour operators who’ll help you discover the hidden gems of this city, whether you’re local or here to soak up the view.
Looking for ways to entertain the little ones? Here’s a list of what’s on in Sydney for kids and families, from children’s theatre shows to sports camps and events in the school holidays.